It has been our experience in our Pleasanton based upper cervical health care office that ear pain and neck pain can be intimately connected. Sometimes patients have neck pain and ear pain and determining which is the root cause can be difficult.
With that said in an upper cervical office, the goal always is to remove structural impediments to normal nervous system function. Injuries to the neck can cause spinal misalignment which can be the root cause of a plethora of health issues including neck pain and ear pain.
In this article, we will talk about some of the underlying anatomy and physiology and how upper cervical misalignment can be at the root of these two conditions. Then we will offer up a natural solution that has helped thousands of people recover from chronic neck pain and chronic ear pain.
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Ear pain Upper cervical spine anatomy and it's the relationship to ear pain.
We will discuss how ear pain can be masked by neck pain. The two can be interrelated and both can be coming from the same cause, upper cervical spine misalignment.
The TMJ, Upper Cervical spine, and ear anatomy and neurophysiology is highly intertwined. The upper cervical spine is the most complex musculoskeletal and physiological area of the body. The brainstem sits inside of the floor of the skull and is also housed by the atlas and axis vertebrae.
The head weighs 10-12 pounds and rests on the atlas weighing 2 ounces. The engineering of the upper cervical spine makes it susceptible to spinal misalignment due to trauma.
Neck pain, ear pain, and the upper cervical spine
The TMJ is the second most complex area of the body. The TMJ joint is the second most highly innervated (concentration of nerve endings) joint in the body, second to the atlas vertebrae.
Both the tmj muscles and the complex network of muscles that control the upper cervical spine are dependent upon normal motion of the neck joints.
Because of this, the neck plays a vital role in the normal function of the tmj, the muscles surrounding the ear, scalp, and the muscles that line the Eustachian tube.
Cervical spine misalignment can be an underlying cause of tmj syndrome, vertigo, neck pain, Eustachian tube dysfunction and more.
In fact in our Pleasanton based Blair Upper Cervical Office we find that neck pain, vertigo, ear pain, Eustachian tube Dysfunction, and TMJ are often all interrelated and often heal through precision realignment of upper cervical spine misalignment.
Upper cervical spine influence on human physiology
As we talked about, the brainstem which sits inside the floor of the skull, atlas, and axis is the seat of control for almost all autonomic functions in the body. The brainstem controls, heart function, respiration, postural muscle tone regulation, blood pressure control, and houses 8 out of 12 of the cranial nerves.
With respect the the TMJ and ear, the trigeminal nucleus, the fifth cranial nerve, is the seat of control for the muscles of mastication, facial muscle tone, the muscles on the sides of the head temporalis) and around the ear(articular muscles )
Any spinal misalignment at the skull neck junction can aberrantly influence the normal function of the trigeminal nucleus and all of the structures discussed.
Mike Flanagan D.C. in his landmark article titled , neurodegenerative disease, csf flow, and craniospinal hydrodynamics beautifully lays out in a 20page document the global role the head-neck junction misalignment can play in a cascade of abnormal effects on physiology that controls every system in the human body. (1)
Flanagan opines that the upper cervical spine is a "choke point" where misalignment can "choke" off nervous system function, vascular supply, and csf fluid flow.
In short, upper cervical spine misalignment is one of the most under-recognized precipitating factors in the genesis of a plethora of health conditions.
Neck pain, ear pain, and vertigo being only the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, our reductionist symptom based health care system does not look for causes but rather diagnoses pieces of a system wide dysfunction puzzle and then only treats the effects.
The Blair upper cervical chiropractic procedure is a holistic procedure whose end goal is stabilization of damage and injury to the upper cervical spine through long term correction and maintenance.
The central nervous system is the controlling factor in all body systems and functions and should be monitored for spinal misalignment not just when someone falls but also from crib to death.
What Exactly Does a Blair Upper Cervical Doctor Do?
Blair Upper Cervical doctors are specially trained to locate spinal misalignments in the upper cervical spine and correct them.
Spinal misalignment is located by running a battery of neurological tests that locate the spinal segments that have been injured and misaligned by a prior neck injury.
Once located, precision imaging in the form of digital x-ray or cone-beam computed tomography (Cbct) is used to precisely determine which joint has misaligned and the angulation of the misaligned joint.
Each person’s anatomy is different and therefore imaging is used to uncover the blueprint to be used to correct each patient’s individual misalignment pattern.
Once this information is gleaned, a gentle, light correction is made without twisting, popping, or pulling. The patient is then monitored over time to ensure that the correction is holding.
If the testing indicates the need for another correction, then it is performed. However, the goal of Blair Upper Cervical Care is for the patient to stay in “adjustment”.
It isn’t the correction that produces healing. It is the removal of nerve irritation and the adjustment “holding” in its normal position that allows the body to function better and proceed through a healing process.
This is how Blair Chiropractic treatment can often help with ear pain, neck pain, and a host of other health problems.